By Adrian Ferrer
The often-ignored scallop corals are championed here. Much like our native crabs with their white and brown meat, the scallop contains two very different flavours and textures. The corals have a truly unique taste, deeper and richer than the more popular disk of white scallop meat, yet many leave them on the side of the plate. I think this is because the corals will often over-cook if fried with the white meat and lose their sweetness and texture. The key to this dish is to not overcook them and the reward is a smooth, creamy and tasty sauce.
• spaghetti – 120g-200g, according to appetite
• olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, 1 finely sliced
• a knife-tip – an Italian amount – finely chopped chilli
• small scrape (about 1.5cm) lemon zest
• big handful yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1 thyme sprig
• 6-8 scallop corals
• squeeze of lemon juice
1. Cook the spaghetti in salted water until it is al dente. (You can also make the sauce in advance and cook the pasta later).
2. Meanwhile, fry the sliced garlic, chilli and strip of lemon zest gently in some olive oil – you don’t want the garlic to colour. Add the tomatoes after about a minute, season with salt and continue cooking until everything has softened. If the pan dries out, add a little water. Put this mixture in a blender.
3. Wipe the pan clean, add a splash more olive oil, a nut of butter, the second garlic clove (whole but crushed down) and the thyme. Allow the aromatics to infuse with the melted fat for a minute on a low heat. Turn the heat up and very quickly fry the corals – for about 1 minute, turning frequently. If they explode, you have over-cooked them.
4. Remove the thyme and garlic and add the corals to the blender along with a highly generous piece of butter. Blitz, taste and adjust seasoning, adding a touch of lemon juice to taste.
5. No need to reheat this sauce, just mix into the cooked pasta as you would pesto, along with a splash of warm water.
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